I'm using the Android Tor Browser 68.5.0 on my Samsung A40 running Android 9.0 (no root) and I've been observing some extremely strange behaviour:

  • My data plan only allows 2 GB per month. Since I installed Tor Browser, the data usage appears to have spiked unreasonably and by the end of a month, the usage displayed by the phone reaches 3-4 GB and more, which is impossible, since the provider throttles the bandwidth. Can Tor Browser manipulate the displayed data usage? Is this even possible without root?
  • Tor Browser is either blocking or controlling the internet connection of other apps. Example: Messengers such as WhatsApp or Telegram often do not get status updates (e.g. new message alerts) - until Tor Browser starts to connect! Only then suddenly all messengers get alerts at the exact same time. It almost appears as if other apps are not allowed internet access, unless Tor Browser has it first.
  • Tor Browser seems to be extremely "busy" in the background: It frequenctly seems to occupy 100% CPU or RAM (not sure) and things start to lag. Sometimes, when I try to forcibly disconnect by activating airplane mode, it takes a minute or so. Other times, when multiple tabs are opened, one particular tab seems to "cling" to the foreground, i.e. when changing to another tab, the content of the "clingy" tab gets displayed instead of the contents of the new tab - again, until airplane mode is activated.
  • When opening a web page, Tor Browser "pretends" to load them extremely slowly (blank screen with a creeping loading status bar), although most of the page has already been loaded. If I then cut the connection/activate airplane mode, the web page suddenly gets displayed, although it's mostly text. This happens with both Javascript enabled and disabled and is especially noticable, when my data connection is already throttled.
  • Tor Browser often behaves like being "under siege": When surfing, CPU load spikes and everything gets slow, scrolling pages is laggy etc. - until I cut the connection/activate airplane mode, then suddenly everything returns to normal (sometimes after a few seconds).

To summarize this behaviour by an analogy, Tor Browser is behaving like a little tyrant: It consumes huge amounts of resources, blocks or controls internet access of other apps, and appears to fake the displayed data usage of the phone. I verified the last point by cross-checking the providers measurements, there is often around 1 GB discrepancy between actual data consumption and displayed data consumption. Finally, all this behaviour is directly influenced by internet connectivity - cutting the connection changes Tor Browser's behaviour.

What is causing this? Is this normal?

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